Hawcoat Park (10) v Bolton (37)
Saturday 3rd September, 2016
A minutes silence was held before the game in memory of John Harrison.
Bolton away for the first game of the season is a tough ask. They are a big strong side and were up near the top of the North Lancs/Cumbria League last season losing out in the promoting playoff game. With six regulars attending a wedding the task was made even harder. The pitch was firm and in perfect condition, however, the constant heavy rain throughout made for unpleasant and difficult conditions. Whilst Bolton were deserving winners and controlling the game in the second period when their powerful pack got on top we put in a hard working performance and the score line did not reflect the commitment shown by the whole team.
The game started off evenly with both teams settling into a new league season and testing each other out.
With new captain Danny White and his vice captain Will Mallinson leading from the front in the ‘big hits’ and tackling department the rest of the team followed their example and the first 30 minutes were relatively even. It was good to have half backs Anthony Munday and Scott Kaighan back after long term injuries and both played important roles in countering Bolton’s early efforts.
After 30 minutes Bolton took the lead, the young Bolton scrum half was having a good game and scored out wide, the try was well converted and a penalty goal was added soon after, 10 – 0.
The last five minutes brought two further trys one for each side. Firstly Bolton extended their lead a regathered kick through on the greasy surface allowed some good handling and the supporting Bolton scrum half to support the move on the inside and run in from 20 metres again the try was converted, 17 – 0.
We scored the last try of the half, following good work by Grady Slater and second row Rory Sayle who was having a solid game against bigger opponents eventually Jason Priss got his hands on the ball and in typical fashion forced his way over under a mass of bodies. Half time 17 – 5.
With little by way of forward replacements the likes of Jonny Burrows, Andy Kent and Ryan Milner were having to work overtime up front. Slowly but surely the bigger more powerful Bolton pack picked up we were under the cosh and applied some real pressure to the forward exchanges. Missing out three normal line out options Bolton got on top in the scrum and line out and three further trys were scored at regular intervals all by forwards through a push over and line out drives, 32 – 5.
The last Bolton try was unusual and thankfully did not affect the outcome of the game. After applying some pressure on the Bolton line hard running Ryan Milner looked like he had forced his way over for a try. Both teams felt the referee was signalling for a try but was in fact signalling a penalty for a double movement. A Bolton forward took a quick tap as all the other players had stopped he parted to the supporting scrum half who showed good pace to run the length of the field for his hat trick try.
Showing good team spirit there was just the time to score the final try of the match. Hard working prop John Donnan made a strong run down the narrow side before slipping a near short pass to winger Glenn Kaighan to finish off in the corner, final score 37 – 10.
Despite what on paper is a heavy defeat there was a lot of positives to come out of the game not least the commitment and team spirit shown. Bolton away is one of many hard games in this very competitive league but skipper Danny White can feel confident that fortunes can improve once a few troops return.
Former colt Will Coles had a good debut and looked very assured particularly when moving to full back. He looks an outstanding prospect with a big future and Jordan Glew, Sam Jones (both on debut) and Ryan Clegg were all solid with the conditions preventing them seeing much ball. The club appreciates them stepping in at short notice.
It was good also to see another Colt Jack Shannon return to action after his long layoff with knee problems. He continues to look another good prospect for the future.